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Separation Anxiety in Adults

Separation Anxiety in Adults
Separation anxiety in children and adolescents is common, but have you ever thought that this condition may be prevalent in adults, as well? Separation anxiety in adults can pose a lot of problems in their daily lives, along with the lives of the people they are living with. Therefore, identifying the signs for the same, is important.
PsycholoGenie Staff
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
Adult Separation Anxiety Disorder (ASAD) can have far more severe consequences than generally perceived. It can affect one's education, employment, social life, and family life to an extent beyond imagination. Research states that the majority of people suffering from ASAD tend to have lesser years of education, lack a stable job, and are either unmarried, separated, or divorced.
The term Adult Separation Anxiety Disorder (ASAD) didn't even exist a few years ago! In fact, this term was introduced by the team of Dr. Vijaya Manicavasagar, the member of the Psychiatry Research and Teaching Unit of Liverpool Hospital in New South Wales Australia, in the late 90s. The study revealed that ASAD is actually more common than childhood separation anxiety disorder. On one hand, where approximately 4% of children suffer from this disorder, there are almost 7% adults that are suffering from separation anxiety disorder. Studies also show that this disorder is more common in women as compared to men. It is a condition wherein adults experience extreme anxiety and fear when separated from people or figures that they are extremely attached to. However, it is important to understand that ASAD is different from normal separation anxiety that we all tend to suffer from at some point of our lives.
Symptoms of ASAD
Adults may experience separation anxiety symptoms when they are separated from people they love the most, like in case of young children who suffer from separation anxiety when separated from their parents. Even adults may feel left out and fear to lose their loved ones when separated from them. An example for the same would be a mother getting these symptoms when separated from her child or her spouse. Have a look at the symptoms of ASAD to get a better understanding.
  • Extreme distress and emotional discomfort while being away or separated from people or places that you are attached with.
  • Recurring thoughts of losing the person or becoming separated forever due to some unfortunate circumstances.
  • Constant fear that you will lose the person forever, or something bad is going to happen, or has already happened to the person.
  • Unable to concentrate on your work or responsibilities due to constant fear and anxiety.
  • Getting nightmares repeatedly that you will be separated from the person or place forever.
  • Unable to go to sleep without being with the person, or without making sure that the person is safe with you.
  • Fear of leaving the person or the attachment figure alone for a long time, and getting worried when the person is away for a long time.
  • Physical symptoms like headache, heart palpitations, nausea, vomiting and stomach aches may also appear.
Causes of ASAD
Experts believe that most of the people suffer from ASAD because of being undiagnosed in the childhood. This disorder is also believed to be associated with family history and environmental conditions. Speaking about family history, experts say that majority of kids suffering from this disorder have at least one parent who has been suffering from adult separation anxiety disorder, or had suffered from separation anxiety disorder during childhood or teenage. Therefore, this disorder seems to run in some families, starting from infancy, to childhood, to adolescence and eventually to adulthood. Even environmental conditions can trigger the development of separation anxiety disorder in adults, especially those who have been separated from a loved one during childhood, or have suffered from grief from the death of a loved one.
How to Get Over ASAD?
If proper attention is not given, then this disorder can adversely affect the life of the adult, and the important people in his or her life. Studies show that people suffering from this disorder either end up not marrying at all, or have a difficult married life ending up in divorces. Even their social life is not healthy, and usually these people end up getting involved into alcohol and drugs. In fact, there could be cases wherein the symptoms go so severe that the person refuses to eat, sleep, or even stay without the person he or she is attached with. Here are a few guidelines that can prove to be of help.
  • You must get in touch with a health care specialist as soon as possible without wasting any time. This is because most of the undiagnosed ASAD symptoms can lead to other mental disorders, as well.
  • Various therapies like meditation, yoga, cognitive behavioral therapy, and stress management techniques; are used to help patients cope with unhealthy behavior and symptoms associated with these disorders.
  • Your doctor may also prescribe various antidepressants and drugs that will help manage the anxiety levels.
Research states that almost 91.1 percent of people with ASAD tend to have at least one other mental disorder listed in DSM-IV. If you can identify yourself with the aforementioned scenarios, then don't wait any longer and talk to a trusted doctor as soon as possible so that you don't end up living a miserable life under constant anxiety and fear. This disorder is not only a problem for you, but for your near and dear ones, as well. Have a healthy and happy tomorrow. Take care.
Disclaimer: This PsycholoGenie article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.